Fashion

This designer duo developed a fabric by weaving pure zari together

Designers Mohit Rai and Ridhi Bansal

Designers Mohit Rai and Ridhi Bansal   | Photo Credit: R_RAVINDRAN

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Mohit Rai and Ridhi Bansal’s new line Gulaal featuring lehengas in bright yellows, pinks, oranges, reds, off-whites, greens and electric blues, is on display in Chennai

Behind every smiling, waving, air-kissing celebrity on a red carpet, is a stylist feverishly wiping off sweat from their brows. And with people waiting to troll on social media, things are not easy. Moreover, each celebrity brings along a different set of challenges, says stylist and designer Mohit Rai, who has worked with Kareena Kapoor Khan, Sonakshi Sinha, Shilpa Shetty, Hrithik Roshan, Arjun Kapoor, Riteish Deshmukh... “While styling, I need to help them visualise different images of themselves. Figuring out their personality is an important part of this job,” he says.

Mohit was in the city to showcase his collection Gulaal at Tifara. After a decade in styling, he decided to foray into designing earlier this year with his best friend Ridhi Bansal from NIFT, Delhi. Together, they started their label Itrh in March. “There is a lot of inference from the nawabi culture of Lucknow. And just like ether (Itrh), a scented oil that gets absorbed in your skin and almost becomes one with your soul, we want our aesthetics to be part of our clients,” he says.

Gulaal is the second collection by Itrh and comprises lehengas in bright yellows, pinks, oranges, reds, off-whites, greens and electric blues, in fabrics like organza and organdy and hand-painted textiles like madhubani and kalamkari.

But what stand out the most are the silhouettes in shiny, woven lumpi, — a fabric the duo developed by weaving pure zari together. “It is a heavier textile, but lighter in comparison to embroidered lehengas,” explains Ridhi. “This fabric is not just limited to brides alone. It has even been endorsed by by Deepika (Padukone), Kareena (Kapoor Khan) and Malaika (Arora) at Diwali parties,” says Rai. This is a result of the maximal sensibility that both Ridhi and Mohit have. Both believe that a common misconception people often have is that maximal just means heavy embroidery and embellishments... that is not true. “Maximal can also mean a plain textile but with a very large flair or ghera; like the maharajahs of Rajasthan wore,” explains Rai. The idea here is to create embellishments out of fabric. As a result, their garments have minimal usage of zardozi and dabka work.

At Itrh, no two pieces are alike and everything is handmade. “Each dupatta takes a month-and-a-half. We have hand-painted organza dupattas that very few craftsmen do, as it is difficult to paint on this fabric as it bleeds,” says Ridhi. The cuts are largely timeless, in keeping with the duo’s design aesthetics. Says Rai, “Fashion should not be about trends, but about creating a classical identity.”

Gulaal is on display till November 29 at Tifara, Nungambakkam.

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Printable version | Dec 6, 2019 2:52:46 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/life-and-style/fashion/this-designer-duo-is-behind-lumpi-a-fabric-developed-by-weaving-pure-zari-together/article30096864.ece

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